Friday, August 14, 2015

Drifting Anchors.

For each of us, we have our anchors; those very things that ground us and keep us focused. For me it has always been a deep seated routine and habitual nature. However, as a counter balance to this I have also always been driven by a knack for being consumed by a passion to the point of what I confess could be called obsession. It has been a strength and a weakness.

What makes me good at some of the things I do is this very ability to immerse myself in a project and so long as I have something like it to direct my efforts everything goes well for me. The problem therein though lays with my very nature. It is when I lose that project or activity that I can direct my time and attention on that I fall apart.

As an example; I have often fallen into a routine in my mornings where I spend a portion of my time working on a story or some other activity. Inevitably though, I finish the story off or something in my life happens that completely destroys my habitual pattern. It can be anything from an unfortunate surge in my daily deluge of drowsiness due to my Narcolepsy to my children falling ill. It doesn't much matter what the reason is; all that matters is the fact that once my pattern is disturbed it can be hard for me to recover.

This may be interpreted by some as an excuse or just a lack of commitment. I mean, let's face it; if someone said they couldn't complete a simple task because they were interrupted that would be some pretty weak tea. I am not saying by any means that if I have to step away from working on something that I am forced to completely forgo any efforts to complete it. Far from it.

What I am saying is this; if I begin working on a story or project and fall into a daily routine/pattern of spending x amount of time on it, completing a set degree of progress or doing a specific part of it at a regular interval then if something disrupts me I may not exactly be able to get myself back on track easily. There have been times where I had a completed piece of work before me, but as I was trying to revise/refine it something occurred that prevented me from resuming my regular routine. By the time I was able to whatever factors that had me in the appropriate creative environment were gone.

Imagine being in the mood for Italian food but all you can spare the time for is a street vendor hot dog or supermarket check-out candy bar. You can always eat it and go on but it doesn't necessarily satisfy you. For me it can be like that if the various circumstances behind the scene place me in the mindset for a science fiction tale when I had been working on something fantasy based. I may still be able to produce something but without that drive it never turns out quite the same.

I've said it before; a writer can always write something - even if it is just something about a cheese sandwich. A repair man can also patch up a problematic part. It doesn't mean that it is a perfect fix. Sometimes it is just something that will work and get you by.

Myself, I am a husband and Father of four children. My youngest son struggles with a generalized anxiety disorder as well as obsessive compulsive tendencies and my youngest daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Even without considering their own problems, my health or the innate issues of four children interacting in a small house etc it should be obvious to grasp how easily life can disrupt your schedule.

Over the last few years I have had to have surgeries on my wrist, my neck and lost all feeling from the shoulder down in my right arm along with a good measure of function from it. And I am right handed. This hasn't exactly helped my productivity, I'm afraid.

However, with that said I have been working on a story I began some time back recently. Trying to jump back into it and get myself back into a routine to occupy my mind. Even with extensive notes or previous work to guide me it isn't without difficulty to drop back into a story in the middle and try to move forward without problems.

While working on this story I was contacted regarding another old story, or I should say an initial part of one. Albeit vague, interest was expressed in the potential continuation of the tale. A topic of which I can admit (like most of my stories) that there may exist more written about or at the very least some detailed notes covering the direction of things.

Even when things throw me off track that doesn't mean I have completely drifted free from my anchor. I may not be able to return to every story or project and for those that I do it may take some time. But I don't generally just start something without intending to finish it. I need something to direct my passion, I rely on a routine I can focus myself on. Sometimes I get blown off course and I have to engage in alternate tasks until I can find my way back.

I doubt I will ever be able to quit being anything other than what I am. To anyone else out there governed by a similar nature I can only wish that your own anchors, regardless of how much you may find yourself drifting away from them, remain tethered enough that you never lose them.

Stay anchored, stay driven and do what you love. Life will always be there to rock the boat.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Giggles & Good Times.

Giggles & Good Times.

Yesterday afternoon I did something that I haven’t attempted in so many years that I scarcely can hazard a guess at how long it truly has been. I must confess that I ended up at the short end of the struggling against sleep stick on the ride there, home and eventually found myself somehow still in my chair instead of my bed. It was a wonderful experience. Honestly, I don’t even regret a moment of it.

My Wife and I took all four of our kids, along with my father-in-law and did our usual 1st of the month dinner at a local restaurant. However, we made one small change to our typical routine. We invited two old friends of mine and their daughter to join us.

And they did!

Now, for most people this in and of itself is probably a regular night out – completely without the merit of being worth mentioning. For us on the other hand it was a big deal. With the exception of my own immediate family we just simply do not do this sort of thing often for a variety of reasons. To put it bluntly; when you factor in my own troubles, our children, the size of our family, a limited financial flexibility and an innate avoidance for some of the more ‘normal’ activities people our age tend to gather for we just don’t get that many opportunities to go out.

That said the experience was altogether pleasant. There was a wealth of giggles all around and enough understanding to exclude any problems. It wasn’t anything special; mostly we just ate and shared some friendly conversation.

I hadn’t seen my friends since high school, aside from an occasional run in here and there. These were people I grew up that knew me well and I can say we instantly feel back into familiar patterns. Hence the abundance of audible amusement we all shared. I see precious few people who knew me from my childhood and even less who actually can tell you my name. For me, it was like winning the lottery.

The whole family had a blast. Even my Wife and children talked the whole way home and into the night about how much fun they had. In fact, my youngest daughter has already claimed that she has a brand new friend and was trying to set up more opportunities to get together with them.

I can only hope that we were not the only ones who had a good time but my gut tells me that I’m not far off by saying that we all probably did. Perhaps in the future more such events might be in store, who knows. Yet, should the chance not present itself for a repeat any time soon I know that I will enjoy the memory of so much laughter for a very long time.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Quiet Poet.

In honor of Father's Day; A Gift for my Father:

The Quiet Poet

Some men are born to sing,
Some are gifted at the dance.

Others are skilled instead at the art of the heart.

Yet of them all there exists a softer breed,
Those poets of the words unspoken.

For in them lies the life lived for love.
For no greater value or worth compels them.
Not for wealth of riches, fame or glory.
They burn for tender moments cherished deeply and lasting forever.

They carry a compass of compassion.
Their North Star is those held dearest.

I know these words as truth,
For I myself was born of a Quiet Poet.
And found in me the same soul that it is an honor to share.

By: Matthew C. Gill

Dedicated to my beloved Father: I have always held you in the highest esteem. Although you sometimes failed to conceal your flaws, you have never failed to guide my way. I shall forever be proud to bear your name and am eternally in your debt for the life you have given me. Your tireless labors were never in vain, for they were bought with a love plain to see that never needed the words to be there. Poetry is emotion given form and you have always lived it. Thank you for always being our Quiet Poet. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Teacher’s Aid; An Alternate Approach For Training Jedi During The Rebellion Era.

Teacher’s Aid; An Alternate Approach For Training Jedi During The Rebellion Era.

Recently my son has been exploring the wonderful world of tabletop role-playing games. He started with Dungeon’s & Dragons, even though he has played other things over time this has been his first real memorable foray into playing such games. Much like any other kid his age he adores a variety of branded franchises and the release of a new Star Wars series (Star Wars: Rebels) has seen his interest renewed.

…And then he saw a number of books and boxed sets setting upon my shelf bearing the words Star Wars.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise to me when it happened, to be honest. From a certain point I have expected specific iconic brands to call out to my children as they grow up and statistically speaking I have yet to be disappointed. The prospect of being able to play as a lightsaber wielding Jedi was a sure bet that it would appeal to them. Who wouldn't want to be a Jedi?

However the events of Star Wars: Rebels bring an interesting aspect to the potential stories that can be explored. The setting of the show itself is that of the early days of the rebellion, the Jedi order has been all but extinguished and virtually no Jedi are left to oppose the empire. As such, when a former Jedi in hiding stumbles across the path of a potential student he has to struggle with the implications of allowing his presence to become known and if he even has the capacity to train an apprentice.

Everything known about this timeline firmly establishes that this was a dark time for the Jedi. The vast majority of them have been wiped out and the remaining few are in hiding or hunted and either could still find themselves being dealt with by the empire’s continued purge. That being said we also know that some former Jedi still exist as capable instructors with hopes of someday returning the order to the galaxy.

The crux of the situation becomes a singular one; if the Jedi order is all but extinct, how then could a student be taught the ways of the force? An initial response would be that they would have to seek out a master, even if they are so rare and no guarantee exists that a legitimate one is available. Secondly, the prospect of finding an artifact like a Holocron is also a possibility – be it Sith or Jedi.

When my son expressed an interest in playing in the Rebellion Era as someone starting their Jedi training I had to consider all of this. How could I pull off such a story without trying to incorporate established characters or potentially distorting established information? My solution feels flexible, fun and plausible (in my opinion). Allow me to elaborate:

Without outright employing a powerful Jedi npc as a mentor or using a familiar character I concluded that there had to be another way. Now, according to some of the rulebooks there are indeed alternative options for Jedi training without a mentor. Most notably among these was the use of a Holocron to instruct a student in the ways of the force. Another approach was by using the force spirit of a Jedi master, which could work but leave a student character isolated from some physical implications of having a mentor in the flesh.

While I was contemplating everything an idea occurred to me. What was one thing that has been commonly seen alongside countless individuals in some shape or form? It was a droid. Regardless of what assistance they provide, having a droid by their side is a familiar sight for many characters.

Thinking about the matter further I decided the idea held too much promise not to develop it. Especially if the game is centered on a single player character or smaller than average party. Having an assistant to help the player may not sound like a major aide but if for no other reason it provides them with a sense of companionship and something to connect with while playing.

So how does a droid fit into Jedi training? Imagine if you will a loyal and well-serving droid owned by a Jedi, specifically one tasked with instructing and protecting students. If such a droid existed then it could contain some knowledge regarding Jedi teachings, the location of hidden temples/shrines, archives, the resting place of holocrons or even a back-up lightsaber.

Just try and think about the potential risk to the empire’s plans that something like this would entail. If discovered it would be a prime target for destruction. Ergo, should an individual with the potential promise of one day becoming a Jedi discover such a droid it would be both a blessing and a curse.

Any such droid could open up a doorway for a student to start studying the ways of the Jedi without ever raising attention by looking around for an instructor. In order to capitalize on this idea I settled upon a rather low-key droid model; the R5 series of astromech, to be exact. It is precisely the type of droid that could go unnoticed for years in idle storage without anyone ever giving it more than a passing glance.

For instance, allow me to provide an example droid the likes of which I am describing. Depending on your naming preferences you could refer to the droid as R5-3D (“3D”) or R5-D1 (D-One or “Dunn”) just mentioning a couple options for starters. Now, this R5 astromech droid has been in the service of a Jedi master tasked with teaching and protecting a group of young students during the later days of the clone wars. To be more exact, the Jedi master Du Mahn who died while defending her charges from a contingent of clone troops when order 66 was issued.

In order to assist Du Mahn in her duties, the R5 was modified in a number of ways to be of use. First among these alterations was some basic programming that gave the droid a modest database of Jedi teachings. The R5’s base programming already covered some general purpose applications like calculating navigational coordinates, basic piloting, and repairs among others.

However, as the current climate of the time was far too dangerous and given the duty of keeping her charges safe other alterations were called for. To this end one of the R5’s tool mounts has been replaced with a weapon mount containing a blaster pistol. Complementing this a low level shield generator was also added to give the R5 droid a better chance in any firefight while escorting any of the students.

Continued modifications improved the R5’s capabilities by improving upon its installed sensor package, a shield expansion module (allowing its shields to extend out to an adjacent individual being defended) and a hidden core to preserve itself. Overall the R5 wouldn't be anything fearsome in a firefight but what it could do is provide a degree of back up and a secondary defense for others. Topping it all off; buried deep inside the loyal little droid was a keystone that was linked with a holocron belonging to and hidden by Du Mahn.

No droid can hold a connection with the force. However, what this keystone does is react on its own when in the presence (via close proximity) to the corresponding holocron. Consider it something akin to a security access code or a unique key mated for a single lock. The R5 unit can help guide another to where the holocron is hidden if certain requirements (pre-set by its programming and cross referenced with its internal database on Jedi lore) are met in order to awaken it for them. After which, it would be up to the prospective student to unlock the various depths contained within the holocrons stored wisdom.

The end result is a plot incorporating element that adds to any storyline you choose to develop. An R5 with functioning memories of Jedi Teachings and an existing directive to escort Jedi students is a valuable asset. Couple that with a stored lightsaber or two and the potential to work in a Jedi holocron and the potential for allowing an isolated young Jedi is a powerful plot device.

What balances everything off nicely is the inherent risk of having such a droid could bring. First of all (as previously stated), if discovered there is no real happy ending in the future of the droid or the owner. Added to that is the constant concern that the droid’s memory could be faulty or it could be destroyed and an important source of priceless guidance would become lost. And lastly, being a droid itself the R5 would lack the ability to demonstrate force techniques or gauge progress effectively short of projecting holograms or analytical comparison with stored recordings from past instructions.

Keeping themselves below the radar of the empire is challenging enough for a burgeoning young Jedi in the days before or the early days of the rebellion. Trying to hide a source of Jedi education that constantly enters into combat to protect you doesn't make it any easier. However, there is an inherent compelling sense of engendered hope and warmth for any player just starting out in a dark time with a loyal/trusted friend by their side.

Your millage may vary but I considered this little idea worth sharing. If you ever thought about a Jedi just starting out without following in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker then this (to me) is a legitimately reasonable option. It provides a wealth of potential options for pleasant adventures along with a healthy dose of conflict. Let us hope that it proves to be fun for our games and if you care to try something similar I wish you all great times as well.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Through The Wormhole; Converting The Streams With An Improvised Buffer.

Through The Wormhole; Converting The Streams With An Improvised Buffer.

There have always been two major paradigms when it comes to fictional settings, like those used in role-playing games. They don’t get any more distanced than those of science-fiction and fantasy. In fact, both of these tend to be firmly established as existing at opposite ends of the setting spectrum.

To even the most casual observer, any reference to one often excludes the other. You want to talk about magic and wondrous creatures? The conversation could quickly draw the criticism of science-fiction fans. Discussing bizarre beasts from some alien realm or weapons that can hurl bolts of blazing energy? Fantasy enthusiasts might take up arguments against the complicated or unrealistic nature of the concepts.

The whole thing is a little ironic, not to mention completely fruitless. It is akin to debating who has the faster jet; batman or the x-men. Neither are real vehicles and both of them only serve as a fictional story element for their respective settings. However, at their core they are both mechanically the same.

Expanding on this analogy, consider this less-clear comparison; Gandalf’s horse Shadowfax and Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun. At first impression there is little the two beasts have in common. Shadowfax is an intelligent creature with speed, endurance and a lifespan unlike other horses. Tauntauns are slower and less clever but able to exist in some rather extreme environments.

Structurally they both transport the hero through the story. Each one has their own unique feel and identity to it as well. However they are living, breathing beasts of burden that exist within their described worlds.

Taking everything one final step farther; in an 80’s animated series the titular hero Marshall Bravestarr had his own personal mount that was tailor made for the science-fiction landscape. It was a cyborg horse that not only could transform itself between a quadrupedal horse mode and a bipedal humanoid one but it also carried its own gun. The horse’s name was 30-30 (like the infamous .30 caliber lever action saddle gun preferred by many cowboys).

Standing Shadowfax side by side with 30-30 might seem as ludicrous as trying to compare a horse to a speeder bike in star wars. Truth be told, even that could be used to prove my point. The end result is a crudely simple one; regardless of how technological or robotic the theme/flavor may be they are both born from the same basic concepts.

A mount is a mount. You can call a horse a tauntaun or even a speeder bike but they both serve to convey a character from one scenic plot site to another. They each have their own setting appropriate traits and features but they are just descriptive fluff layered atop a mechanical base that is the foundation.

Within a fantasy world it makes sense to see people riding horses, pulling carts with mules or ponies – even an enchanted wagon or a magically mechanical mare isn’t out of place. By contrast it logically fits for science-fiction landscapes to fill in the same functions with automated anti-gravity automobiles, robots that you ride on and flying cargo carriers. Theme and flavor refine/define the core concept into something that is completely at home for the setting. But once you strip all that away it is just another thing that is meant to serve a standard function.

Once you really start to grasp this initial idea you can apply it towards all manner of aspects of a setting. A weapon allows you to attack. Does that mean that a blaster rifle is all that different than a bow or crossbow? The armor that has developed alongside both weapons has been shaped by that weapon technology. As such, in a world with bows armor is crafted for the purposes of defending against it. In the realm of blaster battles armor has been shaped by being shot at with blazing bolts.

When you really put things into perspective, everything scales into translation. At the heart of fantasy, magic is the source of so much wonder and mystery. However, if you step over into science-fiction technology takes its place. Arthur C. Clarke said it aptly; “magic is just science that we don’t understand yet.”

Many an adventuring hero has had to draw a torch to make their way down into some dark depths. In some space station a brave soul might light their way with a glow stick instead. What difference is there than their descriptions? They both are disposable light sources. One may be able to ignite other flammable materials while the other can be wet and still work. If you want to split hairs you could replace the glow stick for a flare and end up with another analog for the torch.

Even science-fiction staples like powered armor can find a fitting relative from fantasy. Magic armor that makes you hard to be hurt or stronger, faster etc. serves the same function as high-tech armor like powered armor. An injection of tissue repairing nanites is no different than a healing potion. A +1 to hit on attack rolls may come from divine guidance/blessing just as it could be the influence generated by targeting software.

Deep down, at the heart of everything both genres share a lot of the same elements – albeit using different themes and flavor. Once you can see past all this and understand how magic/technology is used to provide an influence over the setting you can grasp the interactions.

Think about it sometime.

Feel free to share your thoughts, there is plenty to expand on.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Open Letter Post.

An Open Letter Post.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been scribbling stories for far longer than I can accurately calculate. My imagination has been jammed into the over-drive position for perhaps an even greater number of years. And, in all that time; I have enjoyed every story, every awkwardly constructed game or moment of pretending. Not because I think or feel that it makes me special, superior or needed by others. I have cherished all those endlessly connected tiny moments because woven throughout them are series of smiles, giggles, grins and heart-warming shared sincerity.

In recent years, I can humbly attest and/or admit that my own skill with which I apply to my beloved past-time hasn't been anything that can realistically approach the level of a professional. On the topic of telling stories I can concede that my own are anything but worthy of high praise or comparison to the likes that end up on best-seller lists. Nor can I claim that my work on role-playing games or programming projects is anything more than idle efforts of fancy or hobby/enthusiast interest.

All that being said, one of the greatest gifts I have received and a constant source of joy for me is when I see a string of traffic visiting my blog that displays even a single view of one of my stories in order of the episodes/chapters/segments released. It is rare that I ever hear a word of feedback, an opinion or admiration. Even so, when I notice a pattern of traffic that highlights someone even looking at the released parts of a story I am filled with a wave of accomplishment.

I can recall those first days of toiling to create a fictional setting that other might enjoy. It is nothing short of poetic irony that that self-same setting was the seed for so many stories; so much time spent enjoying entertaining others and produced a creation that I am still tinkering on to this day. Recently I realized that the fictional setting I had developed and used for a game focused landscape had become the backdrop for me to place short stories and novellas. Seeing the game that had given birth to that rich environment collecting dust made me realize it was something I couldn't leave laying idle. It was worth refining and reviving.

For me, the process of creating a story or working on a game is a labor of love. I do such things not for gain or to pursue the approval of others. I do them because they are worth doing and I have a story or something in me worth sharing. And as I look back there were simply too many memories, laughs as well as smiles that were experienced in the company of others over one of these creations.

So, I’d like reassure any who may have been interested in the past, still are or might be just starting to become curious; I haven’t surrendered to silence yet and never will. My work on the science-fiction role-playing game setting project I refer to as Requiem (or Requiem d20) is alive and well. In fact, it is currently being analyzed, improved and redesigned to become the kind of game that I know it can be with the level of quality it deserves.

There is so much room for improvement within the work that has already been done on Requiem. Alternatively there is also a lot to celebrate about it. Even if I find areas where I notice equal degrees of ‘what was I thinking’ and ‘there is so much promise here.’

The passion has always been there, the flame never really dies. It is just the focus that might have shifted from time to time. But there are more tales left in the tank, more ink yet in the silver pen and I am not in the ground yet. Until that day comes I can’t imagine not getting lost in my own imagination on a regular basis.

If you have ever enjoyed any of my work before or are just starting to stumble into it then know that more will come. Requiem isn't going to be forgotten. You can always ‘rent Earl’s bullets,’ order some Vernian brew and load your trusty Mark VIII while you get ready to enter a deal with Gideon Coromaur. I have written so many stories set within Requiem’s New Republic but there were countless others that came before – shaped by the hands of those who have played around there. The future can only hold the prospect of new tales to follow.

I can only hope that you keep reading them, playing, sharing and smiling. Enjoy.


Matthew C. Gill

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Hallowed: Mortal Agents of Celestial Will

While passing the time(and more importantly serving to distract myself) in the days before my recent spinal surgery and again afterwards I found myself tinkering on a little project of sorts. I believe the initial seed for the whole thing, the proverbial pebble that started it all was an idea that came to me when I became curious about making an aasimar warlock based roughly on Constantine. While working on that character I began to ponder the nature of warlocks in general and how at their core it could easily make sense for a sort of holy warlock to exist.

Just consider it for a moment. A warlock, in D&D is in essence a spellcasting class that is bound into the service of a dark power or extra-planar/outsider being in exchange for secrets, magic etc. They cast arcane spells but they aren't quite wizards by any means or even quite sorcerers. In short they are a bit of an odd duck among the arcane classes.

Now, what if you stripped them of the thematic elements of evil and dark magics (or, yes - the whole grey area middle ground regarding outsiders like elder gods or archfey entities) in favor of their opposite. Instead of being beholden to fiends, outsider elder gods or even archfey you could have them sworn to serve angels or other celestial entities. Replacing the dark/foreign magics and arcane tricks at their disposal is divine magic and holy abilities to aid them in their appointed tasks.

The end creation, in the strictest sense of the word would be someone who was hallowed; blessed and chosen to preform as the mortal hand to a celestial's will. Among these 'Hallowed' are three different celestial aspects, each one based on the type of duty they are charged with. These aspects include: Swords, Shields and Cloaks. Hallowed Swords seek do battle with the minions of evil, Hallowed Shields protect the innocent from harm and Hallowed Cloaks act as agents of celestial authority or scouts wherever they are needed.

In the process of shaping the class into a fully detailed write-up like any official class within the player's hand book I also crafted or 're-themed' some new spells that fit along with the concept. The most predominant new spell, one that in many ways is a hallmark of the class is a divine cantrip; called Faith Blade. Basically, it allows the Hallowed to form a weapon, created by their very faith itself in order to fight their foes. In so many ways it is a sort of counterpoint to the warlock's eldritch blast spell - it gives them an attack that they can use that is tailor suited to the class without being overpowered. For the Hallowed, that magic is used in melee combat where warlocks instead blast at you from range.

Overall, I do believe the class fits in a similar capacity as a divine odd duck where the warlock is an arcane one. Hallowed aren't quite the powerful combat class as paladins but they don't quite have the range or scope of a cleric. You could say that the Hallowed did indeed become a sort of Holy Warlock or even a Divine Sorcerer in many regards. Depending on the aspect, what began as a divine class based as a mirrored opposite to the warlock soon became a mix of pieces drawn from bards, clerics, paladins and more. The finished product though, is nothing short of its own unique identity.

So, I'd like to make the Hallowed class available to anyone interested in trying them out or to those who simply find the thematic niche they fill missing from their games and worth adding. Here is is available in either Microsoft Word format or PDF.

If you are using my Digital Dossier character utility for 5th Edition, then here are three example builds to showcase each of the Hallowed's celestial aspect types:
Caelynn Liadon, Moon Elf Hallowed Sword 1st Level
Vondal BrightShield, Mountain Dwarf Hallowed Shield 1st Levcl
Carric Amberweave, Half Elf Hallowed Cloak 1st Level

Each pre-generated character is a complete write-up with background notes to provide a basic idea of how they came to become a Hallowed and/or why they chose to become bound into service. I won't claim they are all novel concepts or brilliant conceived but they do give some idea into the nature of the Hallowed class as a whole. Feel free to use them in your games as npc's or for player-use. If nothing else, I hope they might help inspire your own interesting ideas for a character or story.

As always, I am all ears regarding any feedback, opinions or thoughts.

Have fun playing and making stories to share. This began as something to preoccupy myself but became a sort-of labor of love. I had a blast crafting it and, at least to me also opens up a whole new cluster of interesting characters with which to play with. Hopefully you'll agree! Enjoy!

For where warlocks walk in darkness, beholden to shadows, Hallowed tread in the service of light, willingly sworn to serve when called upon. Wielding their very faith itself, Hallowed stand against evil in any form, ready to combat it at every turn.

- Regarding and in response to the question of why Hallowed are a viable option for players as opposed to an unnecessary one where players could simply play a cleric instead:

Granted an obvious question is why not just make them as another cleric devoted to a deity, why make them beholden to a lesser being instead? Which is a valid point, one that merits consideration. A paladin is a crusading champion of good, devoted to some cause or ideal. Clerics are themselves devoted priests to a particular deity themselves. Both are great character types, ones that are established, well known and familiar/recognizable. Much like how wizards are among the arcane classes and fighters are among the martial ones. Yet, there exists oddball blends between them like the bard, there are even fighter-wizard types like the eldritch knight. Hallowed exist within that same sort of mixed crossover space. They lack the potent martial prowess of the paladin, as well as their ability to channel divinity. When compared to clerics they enjoy a narrower scope of spells (even if they do garner access to many that a cleric simply doesn't have available), nor are they able to provide the full healing and/or the raw divine power to turn/destroy undead. Instead what the Hallowed have at their disposal is a unique knack, a niche for being a blend of battle-casting divine magic users, some flexibility for magical support, the ability to fight on their own to a degree and an overall capacity to fill in a themed roll based on their celestial aspect, one that is rich in flavor much like any warlock. If you ask yourself who would want to play a Hallowed instead of just making another cleric, the easy answer with which to counter that notion is this: who would want to play a warlock when they could just make another wizard. It lies in variety, in tastes and feel. Instead of an angel or celestial appearing to oppose the forces of darkness, wouldn't it be interesting to see an agent acting on their behalf - one invested with a measure of their holy power? It only seems somewhat more believable and/or balanced to have a 1st level player character who has been chosen or called into the service of a deva to act as their voice or intermediary in comparison to one who has a fiendish/elder god/archfey patron.

Hallowed © Matthew C. Gill 2014